A. Hurd Gallery is a new Albuquerque art space that’s home to Anthony Hurd’s studio and a place for showcasing bigger names in lowbrow art.
Sandwiched between a tax office and Albuquerque Coins is a new spot for contemporary art, one that’s starting to bring bigger-name artists from across the Southwest, nationally, and overseas.
A. Hurd Gallery, located in the Laramie Square commercial strip off of busy San Mateo Boulevard in New Mexico’s most populous city, is the hobbyhorse of Anthony Hurd, who uses they/them pronouns. Hurd secured the space in December 2020 and spent many pandemic months transforming the former nail salon into an art gallery, which doubles as a working studio for the multi-media artist.
I Was Born in a Gay Bar (April 16-May 28, 2021), the gallery’s opening salvo that’s on display through Friday, is a showcase of new work from Hurd that was originally scheduled to debut in London until COVID-19 rearranged their plans. The exhibition of acrylic and aerosol paintings is a reflection on Hurd’s coming out and how it clashed with characteristics of their favorite subcultures.
Hurd grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where he skateboarded, played in hardcore straightedge bands, and lived with hip hop DJs and graffiti writers. “When I came out at age nineteen, I had literally no idea how to reconcile those two worlds,” they say. “The gay scene during the ‘90s in Kansas City was stereotypical drag queens and disco music and leather men.”
At age twenty-one, Hurd moved to Los Angeles, where they were able to start connecting their identity to the left-field subcultures that fueled them.
“I called the show I Was Born in a Gay Bar because [visiting gay bars] was the first time I felt like I was all me,” they say. “There weren’t other venues besides gay bars to meet people. The internet wasn’t a big thing. It was only AOL and these really bizarre experiences online.”
“The show is a nostalgic throwback to all the things that inspired me artistically and the skateboarding and music scenes, and how to translate that into a lot of my queer identity and experience,” Hurd continues. “Twenty-five years later, I’m still kind of reconciling.”
Young Love, an approximately three-and-a-half foot square canvas, features a wash of pinks and purples and blended primary colors that acts as a robust commentary on Hurd’s identity. A skull motif that recalls Powell Peralta’s 1980s-era Bones Brigade logo anchors the center and gives a shout-out to Hurd’s love of skateboarding. That’s when viewed from far away. Step closer and the piece, including the jawbone fragment, becomes a swirl of abstracted gestures and hallucinatory hues.
“I’m drawn to vibrant colors,” they say. “I’m completely sober, but I have a psychedelic brain.”
While Hurd attempts to boost the gallery’s foot traffic, they’re putting together bimonthly group shows featuring artists with heft in the scene.
What a Weird Time to be Alive, scheduled to open June 11, will feature works by approximately twenty artists, including Attaboy, a co-founder of Hi-Fructose Magazine; Argentinian painter Juan Manuel Sanabria, a recent winner of Baton Rouge Gallery’s Surreal Salon, an annual pop-surrealism and lowbrow showcase; and Sarah Jamison, a Washington D.C. artist whose intricate colored pencil drawings have started garnering attention and acclaim.
What’s In a Face, a group exhibition planned for September, revolves around a general theme of connection to self-identity and plans to include artist Suzanne Falk, a Phoenix-based contemporary realistic painter and illustrator.
The shows at A. Hurd Gallery will be on display for approximately two months, and Hurd says that artists will receive a bigger cut from sales than the industry standard. This is Hurd’s first venture as an art-space proprietor, and he hopes to eventually jigsaw the gallery, which includes some architectural interior pliability, into non-traditional settings.
“I wanted a real flexible space. I have this dream of having friends come in and we can do this big collaborative installation,” says Hurd, who moved to Albuquerque in September 2019. “They can hang out and work in the space as much as they want.”
A. Hurd Gallery is open daily by appointment. The gallery is open Friday, May 28, 11 am-3 pm, no appointment necessary.